November 10, 2009, 11:39 AM — Happy birthday Firefox. Its hard to believe that its been 5 years already. Just surviving 5 years in the tech industry is a fairly significant feat, but Firefox has made its mark as the big fish in the small pond. Being the leading web browser that isn't Internet Explorer is commendable; however Google may knock Firefox off its pedestal with Chrome.
When Mozilla unleashed the first Firefox web browser, it was welcomed with open arms by a web-browsing population that was bored with the lack of innovation in Internet Explorer 6 and increasingly concerned with the massive security issues that plagued Microsoft's web browser. With each successive security flaw discovered in Internet Explorer, more experts jumped on the "switch-to-Firefox-for-better-security" bandwagon.
Firefox has been very successful in waking the sleeping giant. With little in the way of competition, Microsoft seemed content to ride the stale Internet Explorer web browser as long as it could. The initial success of Firefox forced Microsoft to get on the ball and create a new version of Internet Explorer that was both more secure and more innovative (if by innovative we mean it borrowed all of the best features from other web browsers so it could catch up with what the competition was doing).
Ultimately, much of what Internet Explorer has become has been driven by the competition with Firefox, and for that we owe Mozilla thanks. But, at 5 years old the Firefox browser may have already seen its best days. Now the tables are turned and it is Firefox that is riddled with security holes and the innovation playing field seems to have leveled out some.
Firefox has enjoyed a dominant share of the web browser market--at least a dominant share of the browser market that isn't occupied by Internet Explorer. It has certainly led the charge in denting IE's armor, whittling Microsoft's share of the web browser market down from 'all of it' to about 65 percent. That is impressive, but is it reasonable to think that after f years Mozilla will suddenly come up with something new that will compel the rest of the Internet Explorer faithful to make the switch?